Cape Town – Lawyers representing controversial doctor Ganesh Anil Ramdhin, accused of posing as a gynecologist, dug holes in health officials’ files and alleged authorities messed up the process.
Now, the applicant’s family and friends fear they will not see justice and Ramdhin, who has appeared before the South African Council of Health Professionals (HPCSA) on several occasions, could continue to practice.
A Carte Blanche investigation revealed how Ramdhin, a general practitioner, posed as a gynecologist and allegedly duped and misdiagnosed patients. He has faced more than 300 counts of fraud related to medical plans and the government’s compensation fund. He has been found guilty of professional misconduct and suspended from the HPCSA registry three times.
Now he claims to be a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – although he was struck off the UK medical register 15 years ago for serious professional misconduct – and practices in Cape Town.
Yesterday, the preventive suspension hearing before an ad hoc committee set up by the council was interrupted and the matter referred to the HPCSA for further action.
Jerry Mayaba, who represents Ramdhin, questioned the procedures that led his client to be dragged before the committee to face a possible suspension of his license.
Ramdhin is no stranger to disciplinary proceedings before the council after facing more than 300 counts of alleged fraud of medical plans more than eight years ago while operating under a different name.
During his last meeting with the council, Ramdhin reportedly faced allegations of “practice beyond the scope of the profession”.
Council spokeswoman Priscilla Sekhonyana had previously confirmed that the complaint concerned a patient, Zoleka Helesi, who was diagnosed with uterine cancer by Ramdhin and taken to the theater for a total hysterectomy.
Sekhonyana said, “Dr. Ganesh Anil Ramdhin was once known as Dr. Ganesh Anil Anirudhra. The complaint is that the patient was diagnosed with uterine cancer by the respondent and went to the theater for a total hysterectomy. The investigation is based on the violation of ethical rule 21 (a), (Performance of professional acts), which states that a professional should only perform, except in an emergency, a professional act – for which he or she is sufficiently educated, trained and sufficiently experienced. “
Helesi, a performer at the Baxter Theater, died in December.
Friends and colleagues diligently attended the proceedings to show their support for his family and to demand justice. However, their quest for answers may take a little longer after Mayaba’s arguments halt proceedings.
Mayaba listed every procedural matter, he said, that the board chair and the board’s registrar did not consider before forming the committee.
Mayaba alleged that the HPCSA bowed to media pressure to take action after waiting several months without following up on the complaint filed in July.
He said his client received the 15-day notice required to appear before the committee one day before, which flouted the regulations.
He even argued that there was no written record that allowed the Kgolane Magabane of the HPCSA to act as the lead of the evidence, which was also flawed.
“The complainant’s complaint is dated July 7, 2020 and was sent to the Registrar on July 9, and the regulations state that the Registrar must within three days ask the complainant to send him the details of the complaint in writing, but the affidavit of the complainant is dated February 8, ”he said.
“The registrar does next to nothing and the time has passed until November, when Carte Blanche comes knocking on the door and then to save face the registrar appears and says they are going to take action.
“Our argument is that it is irregular, unfair and goes against the principle of a fair administration of justice. It paints a portrait of an institution that has no respect for its own regulations.
“We have proven that the clerk filed a request to follow procedures to bring the accused here, hence the argument that you are not properly named and have no jurisdiction.”
Magabane argued that her appointment as a pro forma complainant is not based on a case-by-case case and insisted that she is following the processes.
“My submission is that the notice was sent and it was on time. All the president failed to do was consult on the date and time of the service of the notice, ”he said.
“But if you consider the seriousness of this case, the harm the accused may have suffered is not clear, but we are saying that if we compare the harm allegedly suffered by the accused and the public’s right to be protected from behavior that is detrimental to the community as a whole, that one weighs more than the other.